Student background data collection for independent schools
About the collection
ACARA collects the student background data (SBD) for students at all Australian schools for the purpose of calculating Socio-Educational Advantage and Disadvantaged Language Background other than English (DLBOTE).
Usage of the data
The Index of Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) is used to report NAPLAN performance against schools with similar backgrounds.
The proportions of students in the lower two quarters of Socio-Educational Advantage are used by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training (AGDET) to calculate the socio‑educational disadvantage loadings. The proportion of DLBOTE students is used to calculate the low English proficiency loading for funding schools. For further information, please see Section 18 of the Australian Education Regulation 2013 .
ICSEA values for schools are increasingly being used by government and non-government organisations for determining which schools qualify for special assistance.
What information is collected
Attributes for each student at a school including date of birth, sex, Indigenous status and language, and parents’ language, education level and occupation.
Completing the SBD template
- Download a copy of the SBD_Independent_School_Template_2019 (Please insert your school name) (Excel 73 kb).
- On the 'Submitter details' sheet in the template, please enter your first name, last name and email address, so that ACARA can provide feedback on the data submission to you.
- Find your school in the Non-government schools list (Excel 329 kb). Use the 'ACARA SML ID' and 'School name' when entering each student’s background in the SBD template sheet.
This ID uniquely identifies all schools and campuses throughout Australia.
Find your school’s ID (ACARA_SML_ID) by
visiting the ASL website and searching for your school.
This ID uniquely identifies all schools and campuses throughout Australia.
Please note that you can add multiple schools and campuses in the one submission if you identify each with a separate ACARA_SML_ID and school name.
- The 'Data dictionary' tab provides a description of all of the background data fields you need to provide for each student in the 'SBD template' tab.
- The 'SBD template' is the tab into which you must enter your school's SBD. For each student in your school or campus(es), you need to enter one row of data that has the ‘ACARA_SML_ID’ in column A, and the ‘School name’ in column B. An example of how data should be entered is included in the 'SBD example' sheet.
- The 'Language list' sheet contains the Australian Standard Classification of Languages to assist you in entering values for the student and parental “Main language spoken at home”.
Submitting data to ACARA
- Email email@example.com to request a secure FTP account to upload the completed template.
- When the account is created, you will receive an automatic email with instructions on how to securely upload the completed SBD template.
- Rename the completed spreadsheet file using the ACARA_SML_ID and/or school name to make the name unique.
- Submit the spreadsheet file through the secure FTP site link in the automatic email.
NOTE: You must not email the data as an attachment as it may not be secure.
SBD submission due date
All schools must submit a completed SBD template to ACARA by 1 August 2019 to be in time for the October schools payment. Data submitted after this date will be used for later adjustments to school payments.
Accuracy of the data
Schools must ensure that the data provided in the template is valid according to the 'Data dictionary' tab of the template. For example, the parental school education entered must be a value of between 0 and 4.
Although the statistical model that is used to calculate the socio-educational estimates can handle missing data, schools should ensure that the data is as complete and correct as possible, as your school’s funding relies on this information.
Quality control of the data
After your data is received, automated quality control checks are completed on the data by ACARA to ensure that the values provided in each column are valid for that field. If corrections are required to the data, an automated report will be sent to the data provider listing what needs to be changed. Otherwise a confirmation that the data have passed the quality checks and will be used in reporting will be sent to the submitter.
For assistance in preparing the template or submitting the data, please review the frequently asked questions below or contact ACARA, preferably by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by calling the helpline on 1300 895 563 and selecting option 4 (Principals' Portal).
Frequently asked questions
Yes. All students in all grades must be included in the template to ensure that the data reflect the entire school community.
If immediately prior to coming to Australia, a student was enrolled and active at a school in their own (or another) country and they are in Australia for a 12-month (or longer) period, then they should be included as a regular student.
Records for such students should be included in the submission without the student and parent attributes, only the school ID, school name, calendar year, student ID and grade of enrolment. All other fields can remain unknown or missing. The modelling process will allow for missing information.
“Jurisdiction Student ID” is the school or system student ID that uniquely identifies a student. It can be the student ID issued by the school or a system-level identifier. However it must uniquely identify a student at each school or campus (i.e. only one instance of a Student ID per ACARA_SML_ID). If you simply do not have such an identifier, a row number from 1 to the total count of students can be used. However, if you need to correct any data after the submission to ACARA has been made, it will be necessary to link this number to your database of students.
Parental attributes are collected to assess the impact of each student’s natural parents on learning outcomes. Therefore, ACARA’s preference is to receive the background data of the deceased parent(s). If the natural parents’ data are not available, the background data of the custodial guardian(s) should be provided. In instances where this is also unavailable, please enter the not stated/unknown/missing codes for the relevant fields when completing the template.
The parental background data are collected to assess the impact of each student’s natural parents on learning outcomes. Therefore, ACARA’s preference is to receive the background data of the deceased parent(s). If the natural parents’ data are not available, the background data of the custodial guardian(s) should be provided. In instances where this is also unavailable, please enter the not stated/unknown/missing codes for the relevant fields when completing the template.
Government and Catholic schools provide this same information through their central offices.
In some states/territories, year one minus two students are enrolled at schools despite the fact that these students are not funded by the Australian Government Department of Education as “school education”.
In some schools in other states and territories, these students form a separate stream that is funded by both State and Commonwealth departments as “child care” and the enrolments are not part of the school.
In these cases, year one minus two students should NOT be included in the student background data if they are not enrolled at the school.
However, in some schools in WA particularly, these students are regarded as part of the school community as the age of compulsory schooling is four years and six months, and consequently the socio-educational status of the school is better reflected by the inclusion of these students. Therefore, year one minus two students should be included in the student background data under this particular circumstance.